Saturday, October 1, 2016

Marvel's Luke Cage - Moment of Truth

"Moment of Truth" is a problematic first episode which doesn't completely sell me on Marvel's latest television series. For a series supposedly centered around its title character, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) himself is mostly sleepwalking through the series premiere of the new Netflix series. Even what we do see of the character, introduced previously as a recurring character in Jessica Jones, such as his low-key life as a dishwasher and barbershop janitor will be thrown completely out the window by the end of the first episode when the corruption and violence around him will finally force Luke to take a stand. Instead we get teases about the character's unexplored past while most of "Moment of Truth" works on world building and setting up the various characters of Harlem. While its possible some of this work may eventually pay off down the line over the series' 13 episodes, we're not given much to suggest that its probable that will be the case.

Lacking a big bad, at least so far, the episode introduces us to club owner and arms merchant Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes (Mahershala Ali), Simone Missick as a police detective (whose resemblance to her comic counterpart is questionable at best), Theo Rossi as an enforcer for gangster far more established than Cottonmouth, and the young punks who hang out the barbershop who decide to interrupt a gun deal leading to deadly consequences. Honestly, if I hadn't seen Missick listed on IMDb as Misty Knight I wouldn't have known that's the character she is supposedly portraying. As for Cage's other acquaintances, none of them leave much of an impression. Cottonmouth is an overreaching thug with delusions of grandeur, Alfre Woodard's presence seems superfluous in this particular episode, and we don't get enough of Shades to see him as a legitimate threat to a man who can't be physically harmed.

No comments: